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Offline Sarah83

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Hello
« on: March 14, 2019, 02:26:28 PM »
Hi,

Its coming up to the one year anniversary since I lost my Dad and I'm really struggling.  He died of Lung cancer and I was with him when he took his final breath.  My dad was my best friend and since he has gone all the joy has gone from my life.

I feel like I am failing badly. I have a 3 year old who was only 6 months old when he got diagnosed and I feel bad that her whole life has been about my dad and his cancer.  Now that he has gone I'm just a rubbish mum to her because I'm so sad.  I keep telling myself that my dad would be so upset if he could see me now but I can't seem to get the energy to change. 

I go over and over how scared he must have been to know he was dying, my Dad would hate to be dead.

Now I'm going through a divorce (which is a good thing) but I really need my Dad here, he would have been my support.

I cant believe I will never see him again.  This is so much more painful then I could ever imagine. Sometimes I wish that I went with him but then I would leave people behind and they would feel the pain like I am.

Will this ever get any better??????

Offline Karena

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Re: Hello
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 11:24:50 AM »
Hi Sarah, sending you a warm welcome. :hug: -I know how it feels when the person you could rely on for support has gone as when my husband died my mum had died a few years before.

Firstly you need to stop thinking you are a crap mum, of course you are not, you are human like the rest of us and it is a real struggle with a baby/toddler for anyone let alone when you have had such a trauma to deal with on top of that.

My sugestion would be that when the dust settles a bit from the divorce, you try and make it not about your dads cancer for her, but about his whole life - I was determined my grandkids would know about their grandad - and because of that the younger ones who wernt even born then also know about him as the older ones have passed it down.

One of the things a lot of people do is put together a memory box with their children - perhaps yours is a little young but not necessarilly so to sit with you for a while as you do it just for small bursts of time -and she will listen a you talk - 3 year olds often suprise us with things like that.

Basically a box or even a scrap book with photos and momentos, and if you dont have many of them  write about things you did together as you grew up.

There are other things as well though - i once came across a laminated letter that had been tied to a tree - on top of a hill in the middle of no-where -which was written from a daughter too her dad about how it had been a favourite place to come and how much she missed him, it was really moving to read and so in a way by also telling a casual passer by about his life, making sure others knew something of him too.- something there would never be room for or could never be written on a headstone.

After the funeral service we floated daffodills down the nearby river - as it passes just about everywhere he ever lived in his life -but also because i didnt want the childrens last memorys of his life to be the sadness of a funeral - and naturally, give children water and a mission and it is going to turn into something more fun and i want them to think of him that way rather than with sadness.

But then later we told them they could send grandad messges the same way -as long as it wasnt something that would harm the river - (grandad loved his wildlife)  and over the years ithey have sent flowers, bits of grass, twigs, some docked lambs tails (dont ask) tiny rice paper boats with messages written on, and the younger ones do it too - we dont have a headstone, but in a way that part of the river has become a living memorial - we take picnics down there - i planted native daffodils on the banking -obviousely not eveyone can do things to that extent or have a convenient river nearby  - but maybe there is a special place you spent time with your dad that you can pass on to her, You can create something with your little one that will come to mean much more as she grows.
If you have a garden plant a tree that will grow with her - if there isnt room or you might have to move - a planter with his favourite flowers or spring bulbs, that she can help you take care of -with her own  watering can in summer - With my mum i made a small corner in our garden into a sanctuary in her memory - a bird feeder, water feature and chair - just somewhere to go and have a coffee and be in nature for a while and in a different way from when she was here be with her.I had to move later when my husband died - but moved it with me.
In years to come your little one will appreciate it, but also as you create something,you will start to think yourself of your dads life - as a whole, rather than your dad with lung cancer.- sometimes those memorys will make you cry and thats ok to do, but sometimes they will also make you smile which is better.

It does get better but its a roller coaster ride - Eventually it gets flatter and less agonising but things can still give you a nasty side-swipe every so often - 11 years after my mum died i found myself sobbing over a christmas Carol on the radio  - but thats ok too - because grief  may be seen by some as something we need to be "cured" of - yet we dont want to be cured of the people we have lost - so i think its more about accepting they are gone but at the same time finding ways to take them forward with us. Sometimes the loss is what we go back too - but other times the happier things take over as well - a place we go, can trigger a memory of something daft they did or said,  so for me anway it is about finding ways to cope with the day to day stuff, but also taking them forward with us in a different way - it can never be the same as before by their physical presence, but in our hearts and minds -because we know what they might have said or advised if we search for the answers as though we were asking them, the way we would have had they still been here and we can so often find them still being the props and supports in our lives.

As i live alone now I often find myself talking out loud to my husband -i used to question my sanity on that but not any more because if nothing else i know it is something that would have made him laugh.

Keep coming back, keep talking and writing because this place was one of the key things that helped me stand on my feet again.

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Hello
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 12:12:00 PM »
Hello Sarah, :hearts:

Welcome to this very supportive group. I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad and that you are going through such a difficult time with so many painful things going on all at once. It's no wonder you are struggling, but yes, it does slowly get better. Unfortunately the pace that it does that at varies from person to person. Everyone's journey along this long and bumpy path is different and takes a different length of time to get any better. There is no right way to approach dealing with loss either, so you just have to try to find the ways that help you most.

The loss of a parent is always very hard. It sounds like you devoted as much time and effort as you could to doing whatever you needed to do for your Dad while he was still here and that, in itself, will have put a strain on you. Also you were coping with looking after your new baby, which will have added to the strain you were under. It also sounds as if all this put a strain on your marriage too, so you have certainly been suffering a great deal of pressure and should accept that all this will be taking its toll on you.

You say that you feel you are Ďfailing badlyí in terms of being a good mum to your daughter, but I really think you are being too hard on yourself in saying this. You really are under a lot of stress at the moment. Anyone would find all this hard to cope with and loss is difficult enough to cope with on its own, without all these added pressures, so please do try to be kind to yourself. You don't need to add to all that by being too self-critical. You are only human. You have been through a terrible time and things havenít yet got any better yet. You canít expect all this not to affect you. I am sure you are doing your best in the circumstances, but anyone would be struggling to deal with all you are trying to cope with. Loss is more painful than you can ever imagine before it happens and it is the hardest thing anyone ever has to go through. It certainly has been for me, so please, donít be so hard on yourself. It is only natural to be left struggling after you lose someone.

Everything you describe feeling, wishing you had gone with your Dad; finding it hard to believe you will never see him again; going over all that happened in your mind; lacking the energy to change; all these things are normal when you are grieving and feelings everyone who has experienced loss will recognise. We all experience these feelings when we lose someone, so please donít feel bad about this either. A year is really still a short time, especially in terms of dealing with loss and grief, so it will all still feel raw and painful to you.
I think the key is to find a way to come to accept what has happened and this will help you come to terms with it. In my experience, you have to find ways to help yourself deal with grief; actively work at it! It will not get any better on itís own. You can just get stuck, reliving the worst of your memories over and over and sinking deeper into the pit of despair it can drag you into, so that it gets harder and harder to climb out of it again. You might find it helpful to go to your GP to see if he can refer you for grief counselling. That can be helpful, but I have found it is best to try to find ways to combat griefís worst effects myself. You have to find strategies that help you keep your head above water and keep you afloat.

You are on the right track understanding that your Dad wouldnít want to see you like this and that if you gave up, it would only cause more suffering to others, so build on that. What would your Dad tell you to do? I am sure he would want you to try to enjoy the rest of your life and to remember him with happiness. It sounds like he was the sort of person who enjoyed life himself, so maybe aim to be like him and start trying to find ways to help move you in that direction. It would be a way of honouring his memory and paying tribute to his life and the influence he had on yours.

Finding ways that help you say good-bye to him and carry his memory and your love for him forward with you into your future might also be a good start. You could put together an album of favourite photos that you could use to tell your daughter about him when she gets older. It would also help revive your memories of happier times with him and shift the focus off the awful time just before and when he passed away. You need to remember, this was not his life, just the last phase of it. It wasnít the bit that mattered. The bit that mattered was all the years he spent enjoying his life and the time you spent doing that with him. We all pass away in the end. What matters is how we spend the years when we are well and can do some good in the world and enjoy our life and all the good days we can spend with those we love, not the ending. Thatís just the last sad phase of fading away, not the joyous majority of the years that we spent making the most of our time here and itís that part that matters most. Thatís the part your Dad would want you to remember.

I am sure you do miss him terribly, especially whilst you are going through such a difficult time yourself with your divorce. It is good that you can see that this may be a positive move though. Build on that too. You can plan for the kind of future want for yourself and your daughter; where you will live; the things you would like to do together; how you want your home to be. You can take your Dad with you into that future and reflect in it some of the things he might have advised you to do. Make plans to take your daughter to places you visited with your Dad and tell her about your memories of the times you spent with him there when she is older. Show her things and places he loved. Give her some of his legacy.

Memories are important, especially when you have a child you want to tell about her granddad as she gets bigger. Some people write down memories in a book or on pieces of paper that they put in a jar, so that when they feel sad or just want to reminisce, they can turn to the things they have written down and spend a little time back in those memories and they will make you smile and feel closer to him for a while. Your memories are your treasure and can be your strength too. Your love for your Dad will always be in your heart for the rest of your life. So will the sadness of having lost him, but that does not mean he is gone from your life. Your Dad was part of your life for so many years and shaped the person you are, and your love for him will always be part of you, so how can he be? Heís still there, just in a different way.

I have a portrait of my Dad on the wall and I still talk to that every day! I tell him about where I am going or have just been, about my day and sometimes, when I am not sure what to do, imagine what he might advise. I can usually hear him telling me in my head, what he would have said if he were here.

You may or may not believe in an afterlife, but I do. I sometimes find feathers at odd times when I am feeling low or upset. I discovered that this is something that can happen when you have lost someone and is often taken as a sign that they are thinking about us still, where they are, and trying to support us, so that might be something you might want to look out for and might help you to feel closer to him.

The other thing I found helped was to take up a new interest and find a few new friends. I know that is hard when you have a young child, but if you can find something to do that takes you out of yourself for a few hours a week, it can really help. It gives you a bit of respite from your grief by making you think about something else for a few hours and getting you out of the house. Did your Dad have a hobby or interest that you might like to carry on in some way? Was there something he would have liked to do or somewhere that he would have liked to see that you and your daughter could go and see or do, in his place and in memory of him? Thatís another way of carrying a lost loved one forward with you. Some people like to go to a lost loved oneís favourite spot and release some balloons with messages attached, when it is their birthday or just as a way of remembering or even letting that person go. Might that help?

Grief is exhausting, which is probably why you feel you have no energy to change, so how about taking walks in the park with your daughter, now that the weather is getting a bit better? I find that both calming and cheering. Itís lovely to be out amongst the flowers and greenery this time of year and it provides a lovely environment in which you can just think and process your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps you could get a bench put in a favourite spot that you could go to, to remember your dad and to take your daughter to, to help her feel he is still part of her life. Lots of people do. I find reading the inscriptions on them comforting. It is good to know so many people still have so much love for those they have lost and still think about them. At Christmas, many had flowers on them placed there by those who remember them to show they still think of them. It was rather lovely and comforting to see.

Other than that, even little things help. I found it comforting to have flowers in the room. They were so pretty and smell so nice, it cheered me up, despite the sadness. Some people make cushions out of some of the favourite clothes of a lost loved one, so that they have a reminder of them close by and that can make them feel closer to them. It also helps to write down your thoughts and feeling every day. It helps get them out of your system just to write them down and then, as time passes, you can look back and see how much progress you have made between how you felt then and how you feel now.

Sorry this response is so long. I hope you can draw something from it that helps. All I can say is that you need to take it a day at a time. Do be patient and kind to yourself. You are doing your best with what will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to go through, so donít expect too much of yourself or judge yourself too harshly. This a difficult time for you, so look after yourself. Remember to eat and drink enough, try to sleep enough. Try to find things to do that will give you a little pleasure. And do whatever helps. You need the TLC. This is not a time to be hard on yourself. One day at a time and find some things to do that will help you. Be positive and try to look forward. Plan ways to take your dad with you into your future and to look back with love and focus on the good times.

Wishing you all the very best and sending you a massive hug, Sarah. Keep talking to us here too. You will find lots of people here who understand and will be able to offer sympathy and understanding and maybe some good advice too! Much love, Sandra .. xx  :hug:

Offline Sarah83

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Re: Hello
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 09:33:17 PM »
Thank you for taking the time to reply and for being so kind. Nobody really asks me how I am anymore, friends and colleagues think I'm ok so when they ask I just say yeah I'm fine, when I'm not.

I did visit the doctor when my dad was towards the end and they gave me antidepressants, I tried them but I felt worse. I feel now that it was my relationship with my Husband (or lack of) which has made it so hard for me to deal with my dad dying.  My Husband has always been verbally aggressive towards me, he grew up himself with an aggressive dad so did it to me.  I always forgave him as knew what he had gone through and I like to think i'm kind.  My husbands dad passed away a few years before mine and the aggressiveness got worse and he became controlling over money. He would constantly tell me I did nothing, didn't earn enough. I worked part time after maternity leave and my parents had our daughter.  My parents had her till the very end, my dad loved her so much.  I couldn't even think about money, I had a small child my dad was dying and my mum has MS.

My Husband never really seemed interested in my dads diagnosis, he didn't ask about his consultations, forgot most of them,forgot my dads last birthday, he was 70 and then forgot mine. I on the other hand was slowly loosing myself.  Going to work and waiting for the emergency phonecalls, you need to come home as dad has been taken to the hospital.  Endless times I would sit in my car almost passing out from panic attacks, to then go and see him and try to hold it together. Then go home and have panic attacks in my sleep.  My dad never accepted the cancer, he wanted to live so badly.  He was supposed to be looking after my mum as she has MS.  He thought he was causing us stress and used to get so angry, it was killing me, trying to hold myself together.  My heart was breaking and there was nobody to care of it. My husband did nothing for me and I will never forgive him.  I know he lost his father but he didn't need to add to the weight I was carrying.  He kept shouting at me, talking about money, talking about making his will so i wouldn't get it if he died. All I wanted was for someone to tell me its ok, if you loose your dad, your hero, then you have me and I will be all of those things......

So I asked for a divorce and we are back to the talks about money and I don't have the strength. 

My husband wants to sell our house.  I just cant deal with this.  We bought our house from my parents 5 years ago at half the price as it was my grandparents.  My dad was ecstatic, I was/am a daddies girl and we would live 5 mins away. We bought a dog, this became my dads best friend.  The house had to be completely stripped and me and my dad did all the decorating together until he got sick.  I have so many memories of us doing it together, bickering as I am a perfectionist. He would knock at the window, the dog would bark and my heart would smile....dads here.  He liked to come over to escape from my mum for a while!!!!  But now my husband wants to sell and I don't think I can afford to pay him out.  My husband doesn't even need the money right now as he has a great salary. I don't as I have my little girl all the time. 

A few years back my dad bought me a willow tree, it was £1 and dead (typical yorkshire man) but he planted it and it grew and grew, I don't want to leave this tree behind.

Anyway, sorry for the rant.  I don't know if it will help but I just feel I can't move on from the weight of my relationship to even think about my dad. Do you think that I may see clearer when I get through this?

Offline Karena

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Re: Hello
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 12:52:26 PM »
 :hug:
Dont worry you never have to apologise for a rant here.
wow you certainly dont need that kind of pressure.I also found anti depressants made thing worse - they made me physically ill.maybe or a while something more gentle like nytol ( off the shelf - or herbal teas might help a bit - but also take time out of it for yourself - have a long bath with candles, ( when your little one is asleep) or  meditation might help ( that doesnt have to be altars incense and bells, some types of yoga cover it - in the same way mindfulness doesnt have to be colouring books - you can practice it while peeling potatoes.Doing something like that gives you a break but doesnt make your head even more scrambled.

As regards your husband he doesnt seem to have dealt with his father dying and not overcome that learned abusive behaviour either, there is only so long anyone can put up with being shouted at and threatened like that, and how long would pass before your daughter starts to see this bahviour
None of that is your fault.
Threatening to cut you out of his will is, frankly, pretty pathetic but a sign he sees everything as part of his obsession with money as being something everyone shares therefore something which he can hold over you to control you.
 
As regards the house i dont think he can demand it be sold, until  that becomes part of a divorce settlement,and his earnings might mean he is entitled to a percent of the house rather than half and half - another angle is how much he put in - if you bought it together was it joint or with a mortgage just in his name  etc etc, if it was sold cheaply to you then would his claim be based on the value at the time, rather than todays full value - which would make his share more affordable to you.Or is he thinking he will get a nice little earner out of it and at your expense.
 I dont know the answers, but i think if you find them, then that knowledge puts you into a position of greater strength and makes it more difficult for him to bully you into what might be the wrong decision. I know its exhausting and you have enough on your plate, but make that first step and you will  find the more you know about your legal position, the stronger you will become,and you willl also find strength in thinking what your dad would have advised - listen to him just as you would have done when he was here.

The way i understand it is you can get divorced with all that in place or go through the courts but in between you can apply for mediation - this isnt relationship counselling as many people think  - its about settling issues such as financial agreements, child care etc and division of assetts with a neutral party involved. You may be able to get legal aid for that,but put in that context it also reduces his ability to bully you into an agreement you dont have to make.
I think the best option is to go to citizens advice - make an apointment now - There is also a government website - but if your head isnt with it, ploughing through the information is going to be hard work - at least citizens advice can point you to the information you actually need to be concerned with.

If it comes too it and you have to sell - willow is really good at propagating and surviving as you saw with this tree.
There are loads of you tube videos etc out there to show you how - and spring is the best time to do it - take several cuttings and grow them on in pots  so you have a better chance of at least one taking root,  then even if you have to leave the tree in its present form  - you can still take it with you, and its still the same tree.
If you end up with another garden and you have a few cuttings you could even create a structure from it such as a den for your little girl ( or you come to that)  :hug:


 

Offline Sarah83

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Re: Hello
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 07:36:55 PM »
If my dad was hear now I know exactly what he would say to me. He didnít really like my Husband because of the way he treated me so would have been really happy if I left him. I think this was one of the last conversations we had had in hospital before he passed away. The only trouble is he is not hear giving me that support. I think he would have helped me with my mortgage and would have been around all the time heloing me out.

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Hello
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2019, 11:40:54 AM »
Oh Sarah, what a lot you have to contend with. I would echo Karena's advice. Go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau and perhaps get a free first consultation with a solicitor. They don't usually charge for the first interview. That way you can get some proper advice. Knowledge is power and it will make you feel better to get a better idea of where you stand.

I can imagine the amount of stress you are under, but, for your dad, stand up for your rights and for yourself and your daughter. If this was one of the last conversations you had with him, then you know that, wherever he is now, he is supporting you. He may not be here in body, but he is in your heart and I bet you can still hear him in your head advising you. The loved ones we lose to bodily death never really leave us, because we carry the memory of them with us still.

I know you feel alone, but that is part of losing someone and you still have your mum. I am sure she supports you as best she can despite her own illness. You must stand up to your husband and have made a good start. Hard as it is, don't give up now. Get some advice. Make a plan and work on creating the future your dad would want you to have. If he is your strength, hold him inside you and he will go on being just that. I do with my dad. He was always great a practical things, so when something bad happens at home, I always think, what would dad have done and I can usually work out how to handle it from there.

You are not alone here either, Sarah. We are here for you. Perhaps we cannot be there in person, but we are here. Rant away, if it helps! You may even find someone can offer you some good advice! If nothing else, we will listen and talk and that helps alot, believe me!

Sending you a hug on behalf of your lovely dad ,, xx :hearts: :hug: :hug:

Offline Sarah83

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Re: Hello
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2019, 07:01:21 PM »
Thanks again for your kind words and advice.  I did have a 30 min consultation with a lawyer but it wasnít much help, more about formalities really. I wish that I could just have one thing to deal with at a time but I suppose that is life. Just as I was about to speak to my Husband about the 30 min appointment I had he had a phone call that his sister back home (he is not from the UK) has a major accident (this was a month ago now) She pulled through but will probably never walk again. He is obviously devastated and I feel just terrible bringing up the separation again. I literally feel like my head is gong to explode.

My mum doesnít really want to hear about it anymore, she has had enough and is very down lately as it will be a year soon that dad passed. I donít think I can get over his total lack of support when I needed it so badly but my heart goes out to him at the same time. Why does this have to be so difficult! My dad would have probably not been so sympathetic about the situation as he like I said didnít like the way my husband treated me.

I went to see my dad today to ask him what he thinks I should do but no reply☹️

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Hello
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2019, 08:47:35 AM »
Then do go to the CAB, Sarah. What has happened to your husband's sister is terrible, but you need to concern yourself with you and your daughter's futures and to organise that, you need some proper advice and to make a plan.

I know what you mean about feeling like everything is happening at once and like your head is going to exp;ode. I am in also in a complicated situation and about six months after my mum died, I had a week when I just went into complete meltdown with all the worry of everything, but, as you say, that's life, Unfortunately, things do all happen at once and we just have to do our best to cope with it all, I know one thing though. Doing nothing but worrying about it won't help. You just have to try to pick yourself up and try to do something about it all, It won't get any better on its own. So try to stay strong Sarah. Set out your goals on paper if that helps make things clearer for you, then set about working out how you can achieve them. Your husband sounds like he is being ruthless, so you must be equally so and fight your corner, for yourself, for your daughter and for your dad.

I know it's hard when you are dealing with grief too, but you just have to do it. Reality has to take priority and inaction will get you nowhere. Keep going, Sarah..xx  :hug:

Offline Sarah83

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Re: Hello
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2019, 09:14:48 AM »
Oh Sandra you are so totally right, doing nothing is making me ill, just going over and over it all the time. I went to speak to my husband yesterday after visiting dad determined to say something  but when I got there he was crying and in a complete state, says he canít cope with everything. So me being me just left it alone. We are both suffering from all that has happened, both of us have lost our dads both in our mid 30ís. I wish someone could just do this all for me but I have to do it myself.  Just want to climb into a big hole right now! I wish my dad could just come and visit me and tell me what to do! If I carry on I will absolutely crush my husband but I know that you are right in that I have to think about me and my daughter.